*A bizarre cop-shooting incident in Prince George’s County, Md. became even more of a head-shaking tragedy after it was discovered that the black police officer killed in a shoot-out outside by friendly fire was actually targeted by the fellow officer, who assumed he was one of the suspects.
On Sunday, Prince George’s County Police Officer First Class Jacai Colson, 28, was off duty and in plainclothes when a man with a history of mental illness began shooting outside the police station, as his two brothers videotaped the action.
Colson died following the gunfight, and it was initially thought that the fatal bullet came from the accused gunman, 22-year-old Michael Ford of Landover, Maryland. But it was revealed the next day that “friendly fire” killed Colson during the shootout.
Then Wednesday, police said that Officer Colson was “deliberately” shot at by an officer who had no idea he was aiming at one of his own.
“It’s another tragic dimension to this unfolding story,” Prince George’s County Police Chief Hank Stawinski told a news conference. “The environment was incredibly chaotic. We had officers under fire immediately trying to seek cover.”
The shootout happened when Michael Ford, who faces second-degree murder, six counts of attempted first-degree murder and other charges, randomly opened fire at police and passing cars. He is still at the hospital and currently in a no bond status.
His two brothers, Malik and Elijah Ford, were denied bail Wednesday after prosecutors say they filmed their brother Michael during the shootout and failed to stop him. The two brothers have also been charged with attempted first-degree murder and first-degree assault.
“The environment was incredibly chaotic,” Stawinski said.
During the bail hearing, Malik Ford collapsed.
“The family of Jacai Colson has been a paragon of strength,” Chief Stawinski said. “The mother and father standing with us during the press conference where we had to reveal this was likely a friendly fire incident, and even today as we have talked to them as this has unfolded, their support of this police department has been stunning.”